4.27.2008

Mileage Milestone

This past week I had my highest mileage week ever...I think I finished out my 10 mile run yesterday with 38.2 miles for the week...or something right around there. Pretty awesome considering I spent most of my runs coughing up at least one lung. The rest of my body feels fantastic...no pain. A year ago I think I was up to about 35 miles/week and felt like I'd been beaten with a 2x4. I think maintaining ~30 miles/week all Winter long was key. The previous Winter my mileage was in the 20-25mpw range.

This week I am hoping to top out at 40 miles, then the following week will be a bit of a taper in preparation for my 25k the day before Mother's Day (heh, and Mother's Day will find me replenishing the calories I burned in the race...and then some. We'll do the awesome all-you-can-eat brunch at a nearby resort. Again I will request main floor seating, as stairs will not be welcome the day after a major race). Shouldn't be too bad as my lungs heal from my recent respiratory bug. Today marks 2 weeks since I first felt the cold coming on. Hopefully I can stay healthy through the race day. Then I have about 3 weeks of recovery and reduced mileage before I officially start marathon training on June 1.

Today I need to get back to the abs and quads workouts that I had started to do before I fell ill. I find that by the end of my long runs that I sometimes have a hard time remaining upright and once my posture goes the wheels often start to fall off. I also need to strengthen my quads to help keep my kneecaps tracking happily.

4.26.2008

Sick and tired...

...of being sick and tired.

Overnight the temps plummeted 30-40º. As often happens this time of year, a drastic change in the weather seems to bring on new allergy/sinus issues. I woke at 8:30 with my eyes almost glued shut and a lot more gunk in my head and chest. Took a couple of Benadryl and crawled back into bed...though DS was determined to not actually let me fall back to sleep.

The Benadryl is finally wearing off 5 hours after I took it and I just re-dosed myself on Mucinex and Delsym cough-suppressant. I know taking cough suppressants is generally not all the helpful in terms of getting rid of an illness, but I am exhausted from the coughing. Ever since DH and I both had bad bronchitis maybe a decade ago we have found that any sort of chest cold/cough can take weeks to clear out. Right now I'd say my lung function is only about 70-80% (with the asthma issues my lungs are pretty pathetic, to begin with). Hopefully this gunk will be fully out of my system for my 25k race in 2 weeks.

In a couple of hours I'm hoping to go run 10 miles or so. DH is helping with a scrap metal drive to benefit our JDRF chapter, so I'll head out when he returns. I wish the wind would die down a bit before then, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen. At least the humidity is lower. I liked the warmer weather we had in the past week, but the increase in humidity did my lungs no favors.

Yesterday's baby shower at DS's school was really fun. His teacher was surprised and the kids really had a great time.

4.25.2008

Long Week -- TGIF

TGIF, indeed. This week really has felt long. I am still battling the lingering effects of that wicked cold from last week. Mostly in my lungs. Unfortunately bad asthmatic lungs and running are sort of incompatible. I have managed my runs this week, but not with any degree of comfort relative to where I was pre-cold. Today I have a 5 mile speed workout on the calendar that will almost certainly be converted to an easy run. I'm too close to my 25k race to risk any sort of relapse illness.

I also "ran" into a shoe issue with my new NB 903s. They are so much more generous through the toebox than my beloved 902s that I apparently started working my toes a lot more during my long run mid-week. By the time I hit 10 miles or so my arches were really sore from all that additional muscle work (and they still hurt a bit 2 days later). I also was developing some hot spots, even after using Blister Shield powder (which I like to do with new shoes for my first few long runs, just to avoid any problems before the shoe has conformed well to my foot). Every pair of NB shoes I've worn over the last 2 years has been a size 8D (with the exception of those ill-fitting spiked Winter trainers), but yesterday I returned my new shoes for the next half-size down.

As they weren't in stock the store had to special order them for me...so I am back to my 902s for the duration of my 25k training and the race. I have well over 200 miles on my newest pair, so I am pulling my first pair with 325 miles out of retirement for some short runs in the next couple of weeks--trying to keep my newer pair fresher for the race. Shouldn't be a problem, as I retired the first pair before I had any issues, just to be on the safe side. I'd never gotten over 300 miles out of a pair of shoes before the 902, so I'm still a bit wary of going much beyond that mileage mark on any shoe.

Yesterday was a rest day and I spent it running down to Grand Rapids to exchange my shoes, then back up to Muskegon for lunch with a friend. That was really nice. We sat at Logan's for probably an hour or so and caught up. I ran a few other errands, then picked DS up from school.

After today's run I will head back down to DS's school for a surprise baby shower for one of his teachers. The teacher is male and his wife is in on it. We checked their registry at Target and picked up an inexpensive CD boom box that was on the list. In addition to that we are giving them a homemade CD of "sleepy songs" that Dane likes. Dane has had music playing softly in his room every night since he was born. I really hope his teacher's new baby (due in the next couple of weeks) sleeps soundly with gentle tunes, too.

4.21.2008

Stuff White People Like

This blog never fails to crack me up, but I can particularly identify with today's entry, New Balance shoes. Though the primary reason I wear them is not that they are made in the US (and the models I wear are made in Asia, I believe...I think only a few models are truly made on US soil and I'm pretty sure all of their apparel is made overseas, as well), but because I have dumbass duck-feet. Narrow heel...WIDE forefoot. Other manufacturers make some models in wides, but I haven't had luck with them (Asics weren't wide enough in the forefoot, but too roomy in the heel, Sauconys rubbed my left achilles raw)...so NBs it is. Plus ALL of their models are available in wides, so I don't have to look at a shoe that appears perfect on paper, then discover that it won't fit my foot.

Several of my online friends are running Boston, today...and some have already finished. To those already across the finish line--NICE job! To those still running your hearts out, keep it up...I'm cheering for you from my keyboard! You rock!!! :D

4.20.2008

*sniffle* *snort* *hack* *wheeze*

So I did, indeed, skip my planned 10 mile race yesterday. Instead I did an easy 5...well, it was at an easy pace, but it was not easy. I did 3.5 today that I think felt even harder. My lungs are just shot. But at least my sinuses finally seem to be clearing (and may I just say that the nature of the "stuff" coming out of my head looks more like something from an episode of The X-Files (aside: I am completely geeked that a new movie is to be released) than from the body of a relatively healthy, living human. I have a feeling I will sleep much better tonite than I have in almost a week. My throat is still raw, mostly from having to breathe through my mouth constantly.

Tomorrow is an off day (going to help chaperone a field trip with my son's class), then a 5 on Tues. and another long run (probably 15) on Weds. I have a feeling by then I am going to be feeling much better AND desperate for a really good run. Even the last two days had my legs really rarin' to go hard, but my entire respiratory system put the kibosh on that, for certain.

Today I did my second run in my new pair of NB 768s. Yeah...I don't think they are going to work all that much better for me than my 767s did by my 4th pair. My legs/feet have just gotten too strong and well-adapted to the very slight control of the 902/903, or something...now I feel like I'm fighting against "too much shoe." Yesterday I did my second run in my new 903s and they felt like heaven. I don't even think it's so much the difference in stability (which is not all that great, I don't believe), but the difference in flexibility. My arches hurt in the 768s--I really think my forefoot needs to flex more than the 768 allows. So unless something changes drastically I'm pretty sure the 903 will be my marathon shoe...and I think my days of rotating more than one model of shoe are over. I guess I can just be thankful that the one shoe that works for me works as well as it does. Now to keep my fingers crossed that they continue to work well for runs of over 15 miles. Eek.

A couple of nights ago we rented Sweeny Todd. Wow...is there anything Johnny Depp can't do? Seriously. Very good film. And I still adore Helena Bonham Carter, too.

4.18.2008

The end is in sight

At least the end to this respiratory evil I'm battling. Of course, I would have to be sick when it is GORGEOUS outside. I couldn't be sick last week when it was cold, rainy, nasty...oh, heavens no. *rolls eyes* I think it is supposed to be kinda rainy this weekend--just in time for me to feel well enough to get back on schedule with my running training. Bah.

I've pretty much decided that I won't be doing tomorrow's 10 mile race. I probably could trudge my way through it, but at what expense? I'll likely still be a bit under the weather and I think racing under those circumstances could be recipe for rebound illness. And the ultimate goal of my current training cycle is a 25k in 3 weeks. As much as I'd like a new 10 mile PR, I'm doubting it would happen with my compromised respiratory system and it's not worth the risk of potentially screwing myself out of another week of training. Were I not asthmatic I might consider running tomorrow, but I do have a crappy pair of lungs, so I need to work best with my circumstances.

So tomorrow I am hoping to do an easy 5-8 miles. That would give me a mere 7-15 miles for the week, but that's still better than that week in Jan. where I managed 0 miles in a 7 day period thanks to the flu and subsequent sinus infection. I really think that neti pot is helping with the sinus issues, though I was so blocked-up for most of yesterday that I couldn't get the water to flow through.

4.17.2008

Anticipating my first DNS/DNF

I am STILL sick as a dog (where did that phrase originate, I wonder...?). I feel like I'm living on Mucinex, Sudafed PE, acetominophen, Benadryl, diluted OJ, and anything else to help clear my head. And yesterday I even broke down and purchased a neti pot. I am hyper prone to sinus infections and have already been on antibiotics twice since Thanksgiving (last time was in mid January, IIRC). Hopefully this can help keep the "swamp of slime" in my head from growing not-so-nice bacteria. This AM I couldn't get the salt water to drain through the serious blockage, though.

Things are in my lungs, too, so I haven't run since my 7 miler on Monday--today is day 3 of no running. Were the evil just in my head I'd go for an easy run, but asthma + chest cold = no running for this sickly chick. Right now my running that 10 mile race is not looking real likely. Even if I am feeling significantly better, I am so short on sleep. I'd worry that I'd run myself ragged enough to have a rebound illness, which is the last thing I need with my 25k in just over 3 weeks.

I think what's annoying me most about all of this is that I had just passed the 1500 mile pace bunny last week...took me almost 3 months to do that after I was laid-up for a week with my last respiratory bug. Now that wily bastard is in front of me, again. *sigh* This was also my only planned 10 mile race for the year and my only shot at a new PR for that distance. Oh well...there's always 2009....

4.15.2008

Sick

*snurfle* *sneeze* *wheeze* :P

Last week was my highest mileage week ever (37.5 miles). I finished feeling strong and free from any noticeable aches or pains. How am I rewarded for this...by coming down with a cold Sunday night. Yesterday I managed a decent 7 miler in my brand new NB 903s (best first run in a shoe...EVER. I swear NB made a mold of my foot to design the women's size 8D/wide off of), but I definitely felt weak. Last night I "slept" terribly...tossed and turned, alternated between chills and sweats. I went to bed around 9:30 and hoped to catch up on some sleep deficit (bad habit of staying up too late on the weekends, then not sleeping-in to make up for it). That was a futile effort.

So I am bagging my planned easy 4 miler today. I have a 10 mile race on Sat. and I need to be healthy for that (can't kick my PR in the butt if I'm sickly). This week's running plan is scaled-back, anyhow. Next week I am hoping to peak at 40 miles in preparation for my 25k in 3.5 weeks.

Rick posted his Glass City Marathon race report. I'm so proud of my friend...he HTFUd when a lot of folks would have called it a day and DNFd. WTG, man! :)

4.12.2008

Run hard, be strong, think big!

Percy Cerutty

That's the current quote over there...--->

Fitting...tomorrow my friend Rick is running his first marathon. I'll be with him in spirit as he undertakes this massive task. Go, Rick...you're gonna do great! I just hope Mother Nature is kind to you (and JakeKnight) tomorrow as you run. Stupid Midwest weather...

Lorna/Freckles is running London, as well...actually, I'll bet she's already awake and preparing for her race. I think she had said that rain was in the forecast for that event...but she's Scottish--rain is no challenge to her! ;) Godspeed, girl.

Speaking of weather...I cut today's planned 9 miler down to 8. I just couldn't take another mile of 40º sopping-wet running. I could feel my toes pruning up. So my mileage goal for the week was a mile off...oh well. Gotta take good care of myself for my upcoming 10 miler in a week and 25k 3 weeks after that. Finished the week off at 37.5 miles, I believe. I hope to max out at 40 before the 25k. My highest mileage week last year was 35.8 before one of my Fall half marathons, so I am already starting to crank up the miles and I feel pretty strong. I'll be starting my marathon training at about 33 miles/week and peaking at 45-50.

Go Rick and JK! Hope you both sleep well and wake feeling ready to take on 26.2! :)

4.10.2008

April showers bring May flowers...

...but they really stink when the forecast for the next 3 days includes non-stop rain (with some snow mixed in for Sunday...snow, another 4-letter word) and I have TWO brand new pair of shoes I want to throw into rotation. Bah. :P

Rick, I hope the weather for your marathon is not too wet. Freckles on RA also says rain is in the forecast for the London Marathon, but she's Scottish, so a little rain never bothered her. ;) You both are going to do so well and make us proud! :)

4.09.2008

Zzzzz...

So tired. I didn't sleep well at all last night (tossed and turned for 5-6 hours, then I couldn't get comfortable and 4 feline furbags got noisy and antsy). So what did I do today...I ran 15. I was dreading it, too. Usually poor sleep = horrendous runs. I was expecting at least 2:45 of utter misery.

Instead I was rewarded with 2:35 of consciously working to keep my speed in check (can I just say how much I love my Garmin Forerunner 305...such a fantastic training tool and those little alerts at each mile are such sweet motivation--like my own personal cheerleader) and running at a faster pace than my 25k race from almost a year ago. Barring anything unexpected my previous PR is going DOWN in a month! :D

It was a bit nippy out. I originally planned to wear 3/4 length tights and a long sleeved top, but after dropping DS off at Spring break camp I decided that with the wind that wouldn't be warm enough. So I changed into my midweight thermal tights and a thermal top. Perfect. Windchill was ~freezing, so I definitely would have been a little cold in the lighter-weight stuff.

I think I realized why my last 2 runs were so miserable, too. I had taken one energy gel for each of those runs, usually 4 miles from the end. Today I decided to take one at mile 6 and one at 11. MUCH better. I know that--in theory--a person should be able to run a marathon without any added calories...but I wonder who these people are (I'm guessing fast, slim types with ideal diets--I am none of those things...and trying to lose weight, so I keep my calories lower when I can to try to drop a pound here and there).

I fuel up well in the day or two before my long runs (carbs--both simple and complex/slow-burn), protein, fats...well hydrated, but I still seem to need a gel for anything longer than 11 or 12 miles (on those shorter "long" runs I have Gatorade for hydration and fuel). Add another mile or two and it seems 2 is the magic number. I'm guessing for a marathon I'd be looking at probably 4. I'll definitely be trying some different strategies over the months of training for that. I'd love to be one of those efficient fuelers, but I tend towards hypoglycemia, so maybe that's a factor. It would make sense, I suppose.

Now I am "refueling" with a bottle of Bell's Oberon. :)

4.07.2008

Fun with Javascript

I found a neat little custom quote-of-the-day widget hack, so now I can have a different quote rotating all month long on my blog.

Yes, I AM easily amused, as a matter of fact... ;)

Pain in the butt!

Yesterday I started back up with some strength training for my legs and abs. Lately I have found that my knees are a little creaky and on the end of long runs I start feeling like I can't hold my torso upright any more. A year ago I was not having these issues, as last Winter I was doing 2-3 days of pretty heavy duty full-body strength training (Cathe Friedrich). I didn't do any strength training this Winter, since I was running 5 days/week, instead of 4...and mostly because I got kinda sick of having to be constantly setting my equipment up and then tearing down when I would finish (our living room is really small...one must-have for our next home is a dedicated space for a home gym of sorts).

So yesterday I did one of the abs segments and one of the legs segments of an older, intermediate DVD of mine (Tamilee Webb's "I Want That Body"). This DVD is produced by the "Buns of Steel" woman. So today my abs are nicely sore and my butt is killing me! I really need to be working my quads more to help keep my kneecaps tracking smoother, so I won a P90X legs/back DVD on eBay that I have heard good things about. I won't likely be able to do the back portions, since they require a pull-up bar...I think hung off of a door. But the legs segments will be good and there is apparently an ab workout on the DVD, as well. I may also look into some pilates workouts in the future, too.

A couple of nights ago we rented "Once"--the movie with the Oscar-winning song, "Falling Slowly." Beautiful film. Sweet, simple, emotional story, great acting...beautiful music (all with a budget of a mere $100k...shows what can be done so well and for so little money). Rumor has it the couple in the film (Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova) are romantically involved IRL, as well. I had downloaded "Falling Slowly" off of iTunes, but after watching the film was so impressed by the music that I added the rest of the album.

This week DS is on Spring break. A YMCA camp near us has a great 9-5 program M-F to keep kids entertained over the break. So he's doing that this week. I dropped him off this AM and he was eager to get playing and working on art projects. He's really going to have such a great time. There may be kids from his current school or his old Montessori kindergarten there (the camp directors' kids went to his kindergarten), too, so that will be an extra treat for him.

4.05.2008

Freak Out!

No...not a disco tune, but the realization that my first marathon is 6 months from today...ack!

Carry on...

Got something cool in the mail today--the medal from my 3rd place AG 15k race 2 weeks ago. It's kinda lame...doesn't say what place it's for, date, or what distance (they must have gotten all generic medals for both 5k and 15k), but it's a medal all the same. Most people on the course do not have one. I may never again place in my AG, so it's still damned cool.

Had a nice 8 miler this afternoon. Amazing weather...mid 50s, some wind, but it was welcome wind, not "wind chill" wind. I was overdressed in my 3/4 length tights and short sleeved shirt. I didn't mind, though. Better to be a little too warm than a little too cold even while wearing eleventy layers.

Guess it's almost skirt weather, but my legs are still the color of raw bratwurst. I know tanning is so bad, but I am tempted to get a one-month tanning package just for some color. Plus I have found that there is NO sweat-proof sunscreen on this girl. Can't use it on my face since it's in my eyes within minutes and can't run when my eyes are burning. Anywhere else it sweats right off and I still end up sunburned--at least a little tan keeps me from getting a lot burned on my long Spring runs.

Good News / Bad News / Ugly

Bad news first (I like to save the best for last):
I'm sending my Saucony shoes back. Yesterday's 5 mile including hill repeats sealed the deal. I love the cushion, flexibility, and stability of the trainers, but not their ability to make my left achilles raw. 17.5 miles and I'm pulling the plug. The last shoe I had that did this (only I think those were problematic for my right achilles area) I fought (using a variety of things to help protect my heel...including duct tape on my skin) for almost 50 miles before pulling retiring them and returning to the store. I'm no longer as willing to fight with a shoe in the hopes that it *might* break-in and work. A friend of mine had similar issues with a Saucony shoe and it eventually yielded, but blisters are one thing--blood is another.

Good news:
Yesterday I purchased TWO new pair of shoes. We have a NB store an hour away that I don't usually shop at that much at (their prices are kinda high and I often find better deals once gas is figured-in, since lots of places have free shipping). I was taking DS to a botanical garden in the general area of the NB store, so figured I would pop in and see if they had the new 903...they did and I with them on my feet I felt like Cinderella with the glass slipper (I think the 903 might even fit better than the 902...the forefoot is a bit more roomy and I don't feel the overlays nearly as much)--so they went home with me.

While I was there I asked to try the 768 (I wore through 3.5 pairs of the 767 before they started disagreeing with me...I think my legs became so accustomed to the flexibility of the 902 that going to a stiffer shoe didn't work--and they have a weird cant to the forefoot). Wow...very different from the 767...much softer, more flexible, and no cant in the forefoot (I even had one 767 on one foot and a 768 on the other to really compare feel). So I grabbed a pair of those from Holabird Sports (they have them almost $20 cheaper than everyone else and I need to get SofSole "Arch" insoles for my 903s, anyhow...NB still doesn't put a decent insole in their shoes, though the newer ones do seem to have a bit more oomph to the arches than the earlier models did).

Hopefully this means I will have 2 models of shoe to rotate, again. I'm still not convinced that the 903 is enough shoe for me to run a marathon in, either. I keep picturing my feet and legs wanting a shoe with more "oomph" by the midpoint of the race.

Ugly (well, sorta):
NB is trying to make us broke. The color of the new 903 is "persimmon." I discovered that NB now has a full line of running clothes in that color...skirts, shorts, tops, jackets...even a DRESS!!! Eek! Good thing I don't *love* the bonita skirt (no pocket, high side slits cause back of skirt to ride up under Camelbak or Amphipod belt to reveal liner compression short), or I'd have to have one to match my shoes ('cause I'm a dork like that). That dress is hella cute, though. If I do end up wearing the 903s for my marathon I will probably look for a persimmon-colored top, then wear black or gray bottoms of some sort (and a garish yellow LiveStrong hat). I'd like to have something that stands out a bit so that my family can easily pick me out in the pack.

DS and I spent a nice couple of hours at Meijer Gardens. Every spring they have an awesome feature--a couple of months of live butterflies, "Butterflies Are Blooming," by the hundreds (40+ species) in their main conservatory. We have gone to this for years...it's amazing. The place is just full of exotic, fluttery beauties that will frequently land on people. We also spent about an hour in the children's garden while Dane rammed around and burned off some energy. Last year we bought a family membership and will definitely renew it at the end of the month. FMG is definitely our favorite attraction in West MI. Every time we go there is something new to see...and the opportunity to see works of art by names like Rodin and Chihuly is an added bonus.

4.02.2008

Wind Blows

Did a rough 14 miler today (made all the more challenging by some steady 20mph winds from the south). Last week's 13 was tough, too. All Winter I maintained weekly long runs of 10-11 miles...relatively easy after coming off of a couple of half-marathons in the Fall. My 12 miler a few weeks back was great. But 13+ is kicking my butt. What gives? Right now the thought of training for and running a marathon is kinda freaking me out. Heck, a 25k is not looking all that manageable at the moment, even though I've BTDT.

Oh, and my promise to tell about my mid-run "mooning" yesterday. Not much to tell...I just had to run before my coffee had fully done its job and even as I started was feeling my bladder complaining. By 2 miles in I was desperate, especially as I still had 2 miles to go. Decided to duck behind the bandshell adjacent to the marina. When I started my squat there were no cars in the marina lot. Just as soon as I was finishing-up a truck pulls in...fully in view of my "toilet." Sheesh, sometimes I wish I were a guy.

In gear news...the update to my favorite shoe is out--the NB 903. Unfortunately a lot of online retailers don't have it yet. I'd love to order from Holabird Sports, since they have it $20 cheaper than everyone else, but they are only carrying the men's version...WTF is up with that?! I e-mailed last night to find out if I could get this from them...have yet to hear back. Way to alienate your female customers, folks. I may need to just bite the bullet and pay more for the shoes, since my 902s are approaching 200 miles and I need to get a new pair in rotation to break in well before a couple of major Spring races.

In other shoe news: I've done a couple of runs in my new Saucony Progrid Guides. My first 8 mile run was pretty great. Nice, lighter-weight shoe, good cushion, perfect stability. By the end I thought maybe my left achilles was a little chafed, but nothing bad. The next day I did 5 and by the time I was home my achilles was a little raw and bleeding. Crap. Apparently this is not all that uncommon for a lot of folks with Saucony shoes. They hug the heel nicely, so no slippage--but the top of the rear of the shoe is quite high and cuts in a bit. Hopefully they will eventually work themselves out. If not I will send them back to OnlineShoes.com, where I purchased them. They have a great 90 day "no questions asked" warranty (which I had to use before under similar conditions). I hate to send back a shoe that they can't resell, but if I can't wear them...

4.01.2008

Waiting with bated breath

Stay Tuned: Tommorrow I'll have to blog about my unintentional "mooning" of peeps in a pickup truck while emptying my bladder out of utter desperation in the middle of a 4 mile run.

Redonkulous!

I *heart* Cute Overload! One of these days I need to figure out how to do animated gifs. I need to take more pics of my own dumb furbabies to add silly text to, also. Mine always seem to run when they see me with a camera, though (DS does the same damned thing...how can I make my Art when my subjects are so uncooperative?!).

April Fools!

I only wish it were a joke...it just started snowing. &*^*()&&*%@#$#@%!!! :(

That reminds me...I need to do a new poll. Anyone got any suggestions?